Take a Hike with Black Diamond and Carhartt

A change in the weather is finally upon us! Time for pumpkin spice lattes and weekends spent exploring tree-lined trails. There’s nothing better than getting out into the crisp autumn air for a scenic hike or camping trip, but you definitely need the right gear to do it. If you’re anything like me, you hold on to your outdoor clothing for a long time so quality pieces are important. My go-to brands for reliable apparel are Black Diamond and Carhartt.

Both brands make incredibly durable clothing that holds up to rigorous use. You’ll find everything from warm yet breathable jackets to comfortable, lightweight tees and flexible, functional pants. Carhartt has been making its goods for more than 100 years and their products are loved by individuals who work tough jobs in rough environments. Black Diamond’s designs are rooted in rock climbing and skiing, both extremely demanding sports that require dependable gear. Mix a few pieces from each of these brands together and you’ve got the perfect blend of adventure attire.  


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The best way to create a well-rounded hiking wardrobe is by stocking up on a variety of basics. A couple tank tops and T-shirts, a flannel or hoodie, pants, a weatherproof jacket, gloves and a hat are all you really need (other than good hiking boots, of course). Buy mostly neutral colors like gray, black, navy or tan so they mix and match easily, but make sure you buy at least one article of clothing in a bright color. This comes in handy for when you need to be visible on the trail. Trust me, things can happen, and you never know when you’ll need to be easily spotted in the wilderness.


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Another good rule of thumb is to purchase items in longer lengths or one size up. Larger sized clothing comes in handy for when you need to layer up on a cold night. Longer length clothing is perfect for when you need to tuck things in or pull them over your arms and legs for extra warmth. Remember, anything can be folded up, tied back or removed if you get too hot. A common error many people make is not preparing for unexpected cold weather when they’re out exploring. You definitely don’t want to be that guy.


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Both Carhartt and Black Diamond have a good selection of outdoor items to choose from. They also don’t go crazy on the color options, which shows me they’re less concerned about making a fashion statement and more focused on quality and craftsmanship. If you’ve never tried these brands out, I highly suggest you click the images below and check them out already! I could go on and on about why they’re so great, but I’d rather you discover it on your own. Happy hiking!

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4 Must-Have Big Agnes Camp Gear Items

As the sun rose steadily into the cobalt sky over Las Vegas’ Red Rock National Recreation Area, I awoke with the smell of the campfire clinging to my skin and realized that I had not slept this well in a very long time. I felt amazing after a chilly night with good company and great gear, and it was all thanks to Big Agnes.

Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Big Agnes is an outdoor brand dedicated to backcountry comfort. Launched in 2001, the company has grown into an award-winning manufacturer of technologically advanced sleeping bags, sleeping pads and tents — something truly unique for the nature enthusiast. 

Although I’ve been camping for years, I often suffer from what I like to call “camping issues.” Without fail, in sequential order, I often forget my flashlight, lose sight of my position, and trip over the tent’s guylines. Moreover, I have yet to perfect the art of changing in the dark, which either results in me putting my clothes on inside out or backwards, or succumbing to a nightlight and giving the entire campground a shadow show.

Well, Big Agnes has fixed all those problems with their new mtnGLO line of tents, which Backpacker Magazine gave a 2015 Editor’s Choice award.

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  1. SL 1 Person mtnGLO Tent
  2. mtnGLO Tent Light Accessory Kit
  3. Lost Ranger 15° Long
  4. Double Z 

I must say, this is an astoundingly roomy three-season tent, and the built-in LED lights give enough glow without casting off harsh shadows. The corner webbing and guylines are all reflective, so even if the lights are off, you don’t trip over them in low-light situations. Factor in the storm flaps and built-in mesh and media pockets and you’re all set for a great adventure. 

When it comes to making and breaking camp, this tent is probably one of the easiest I’ve dealt with in a long time, taking about five minutes to pitch and seven minutes to stow.

The mtnGLO tent lights are also available as an accessory kit if you want to simply upgrade the gear you already have.

In addition to my fabulous tent, I got to spend the cold desert night curled up in a Lost Ranger bag with a Double Z sleeping pad. I’ve long hated sleeping pads because I always seem to move and fall off of them in the middle of the night. Big Agnes, however, has found the perfect solution by creating an integrated pad sleeve that balances weight distribution for undisturbed rest. It’s no wonder I woke up the next morning without having felt a single rock underneath my body — and trust me, there were plenty!

And for the cherry topper … I think my other favorite thing about the evening, besides the s’mores, was hanging out by the campfire in the Elite (not shown), a packable yet comfortable chair that weighs only two pounds but can support up to 320. I’m a huge fan of anything that keeps me from having to sit on the ground after a long day of hiking — and an even bigger fan of things that do it without being horribly heavy to carry all day.  

So there you have it! New gear to check out and drool over, all brought to you by the amazing folks at Big Agnes. Get outdoors and enjoy!

Product Match Dating Spotlight: Arc'teryx Thorium Hoody

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I have a great sense of humor and a wind-resistant outer face fabric that always gives me an optimistic outlook no matter the weather. I'm looking for someone with a lovely, warm personality to match my own. I pride myself in being effortless and packable, always ready for an early morning hike.

I am interested in someone who appreciates:
Taking the road less traveled
An insulated storm hood
Freedom of movement
Reality TV
Storm chasing

On a typical Friday night I am out with friends, but not too late! The next morning I am sure to be hitting the trail fresh and early.

Favorite Quote: "There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm." - Willa Cather

You may also be interested in:

Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody

Patagonia Emmilen Jacket

Marmot Kenzie Jacket



There are plenty of fish in the sea...

3 Reasons Why You Need Water Shoes

Ahhh, yes! The dog days of summer are finally here, and I for one couldn’t be more excited. It’s that sun scorching yet beautiful time of July when the fam and I load up the wood paneled station wagon (or midsize SUV, same diff.) and traverse deep into the wilderness for a weeklong excursion of camping, hiking and swimming.

Like any seasoned vacationer, top-of-mind items that I tend to pack first include the tent and all its accessories, an extra-large cooler, trekking poles, hydration packs and, of course, water shoes.

Water shoes, aka amphibious shoes, are often forgotten in the mix of necessary outdoor gear. Sure, you probably own cheap rubber sandals, and that’s great! They may do the trick when you’re taking out the trash, but not in the thick of the great outdoors. 

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  1. Keen Clearwater CNX
  2. Columbia Megavent™
  3. adidas Outdoor CLIMACOOL® Jawpaw Slip-On
  4. Keen Uneek


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  1. Keen Clearwater CNX
  2. Chaco ZX/3® Yampa
  3. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
  4. Keen Rose Slide


Here’s a quick breakdown as to why you need to invest in a pair of water shoes for your next adventure: 

1) Variety
Are you particular in the way you dress, even miles away from civilization and cell phone reception? Well, you’re in luck. Athletic brands, such as Nike and adidas, are now inundating the marketplace alongside Keen, Columbia and Chaco, so your high-fashion footwear can remain on point. As a direct result, there are a plethora of bright colors and traditional styles for your viewing and wearing pleasure.

2) Safety
With specially designed outsoles, one can easily transition from wooded trails to sandy shorelines, and even atop pebbly riverbanks or damp rock formations, all without the fear of risking injury. For example, Merrell’s M Select GRIP™ technology delivers durable, slip-resistant traction that releases dirt and debris with its specialized lugs. Brands like Keen, SOLE and Teva have similarly patented protection that works just as great.

3) Comfort
Thinking twice about that “must-see” eight-mile hike upstream? Don’t! Most water shoes integrate compression-molded EVA midsoles for all-day comfort and support. Furthermore, depending on the style, most designs incorporate open or vented uppers that allow feet to breathe and dry off quicker.

There you have it, folks. Three sound reasons as to why water shoes should be your next purchase. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish packing.

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New Brand Spotlight: John Deere

John Deere, John Deere footwear, John Deere boots, John Deere work boots, work boots, work shoes, John Deere is one of the most respected and recognizable brands in the world. Its innovative designs and quality materials include tough, durable leathers and slip-resistant outsoles that meet dirt, mud, and hard work head-on so you can give your best performance every workday.

John Deere work boots come with a variety of soft toe, steel toe, and composite toe styles to match whatever environment you will be working in. Their designs also accommodate what you need during your workday, with both easy slip-on work boots and secure lace-up work boots featuring eyelets and hooks that are set on stainless steel washers for long-lasting durability. The majority of their boots include removable orthotic inserts with airflow technology to keep you dry and comfortable. The John Deere WCT work boot series, which stands for Work Comfort Technology, is named for the tough, high-abrasion, and oil-resistant polyurethane that supports and protects your feet.

Made to stand up to the toughest conditions, your John Deere boots will not let you down.


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Give Dad Some "Aloha" with Maui Jim!

Pops. Dad. Papa. Pa.  No matter what you call him, one thing seems to stay constant with dear ol' dad: his love for practical gifts! This Father’s Day, give him the gift of aloha --and unsurpassed glare protection and color clarity---with Maui Jim sunglasses!

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1. Maui Jim “Stingray”

2. Maui Jim “Sandy Beach”

3. Maui Jim “Makaha”



New Styles:

1. Maui Jim “Breakers”

2.Maui Jim “Legends”

3. Maui Jim “Kawika”



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The Osprey & Big Agnes Campout

Springtime in the Las Vegas Valley is a short but very enjoyable time of the year for camping. Around here, we take great advantage of the great weather with camping, hiking or any other excuse we can find to get outdoors in our local parks like Valley of Fire and Red Rock Conservation Area.

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Last week, a handful of outdoor enthusiasts were invited by Osprey and Big Agnes to attend the Annual Retail Community Campout. Employees of Zappos.com, REI and Desert Rock Sports got together to hang out, talk shop, test out some new gear by Big Agnes and Osprey and most importantly, enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.  This year, the event was held at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, located about 25 miles west of the Zappos HQ.  
If you grew up camping with department store camping gear like myself and have been out of the game for a while, you will be blown away by the quality, craftsmanship and ease of setup/teardown that is the epitome of Big Agnes gear. Osprey, purveyors of high quality packs and travel gear, celebrates their 40 year anniversary and was one of the first to introduce breathable mesh in their line of packs over 35 years ago.
On behalf of the outdoor enthusiasts at Zappos HQ, we would like to thank Steve and Mitch from Osprey and Big Agnes, as well as everyone else who attended. While there is no substitute for world-class outdoor equipment, it’s really about the people you camp with that make it a memorable experience.
Here’s a highlight reel of last year’s event at Valley of Fire, a mere 51 miles from Downtown Las Vegas.

On a Side note, in the summer Months we enjoy Mt. Charleston for hiking and camping, which is a 45-minute drive from the office! This just goes to prove that Las Vegas is WAY more than just The Strip!

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Timberland Partners with Ed Norton's CrowdRise for Serv-a-Palooza

Last week, Timberland announced its call for entries for their inaugural Timberland Serv-a-Palooza Challenge in partnership with innovative digital fundraising platform CrowdRise.com.  The six-week Challenge encourages consumers to volunteer for a cause of their choice for opportunities to win amazing prizes as well as big donations for the non-profit organization they choose to support. A real win-win for everyone!

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For 17 years, Timberland has celebrated its commitment to volunteerism through its annual Serv-a-Palooza events. In April 2014, Timberland surpassed the one million hours served milestone. Now, through their Serv-a-Palooza Challenge, Timberland wants to get started on its next million hours and motivate the public to get out and volunteer.

Anyone who wants to volunteer can sign up at crowdrise.com/timberland to earn rewards for the hours they serve, donors they recruit, and money they raise. The Timberlan Serv-a-Palooza Challenge will begin Monday, August 11 and continue through Thursday, September 18th.

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Timberland’s partnership with CrowdRise (founded by actor and philanthropist Edward Norton) brings the brand’s love of volunteerism to consumers for the first time with prize and donation incentives. "I'm a big fan of Timberland. I wear their shoes all the time and I also admire their longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and community service," said Norton. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with a company that's got such great priorities to leverage their volunteer efforts in exciting new ways."


“Volunteerism is an integral part of Timberland’s heritage,” said Atlanta McIlwraith, Senior Manager Community Engagement. “Partnering with a socially innovative platform like CrowdRise gives us the opportunity to engage with our consumers in an exciting way; and it reinvigorates our own commitment to giving back.  It’s inspiring to imagine the impact this partnership could have in communities around the country.” 


At the end of the Serv-a-Palooza Challenge, Timberland will award grand prizes to the Top Recruiter, Top Volunteer and Top Fundraiser. Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant for the cause he/she supports.  They will also receive a $5,000 Timberland shopping spree OR an all-expense-paid trip to the Horquin Desert to help plant Timberland’s two-millionth tree in China, a custom pair of Timberland® boots, and have their “Impact Maker” story shared on an online Timberland campaign. Additionally, the top volunteer will have his/her hours matched by Timberland employees in New England!


For full rules and details, visit crowdrise.com/timberland. Volunteers who set up their fundraising page by August 10 at 11:59 p.m. ET will be entered to win one of 50 pairs of Timberland® boots to wear while they complete their service hours.